Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm Hard to Please?

Why is it that every choice I have makes me unhappy? I can stay and be feel nervous, unsure/somewhat unhappy, go and be alone and be downright miserable, or try new ones out and absolutely dread it. Why isn't anything evoking positive feelings?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day ???

I had a bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich this morning. It was what I wanted. I was about a 7 on the hungry scale (10 being the hungriest possible) and needed food because of a migraine/hangover. It did hum to me about a 7, probably because it's my forbidden binge food. I feel somewhat good, a bit scared, a bit happy about eating it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 26

I had a slip yesterday. It followed several days of bad attitude and feeling really disconnected from OA after going to Pittsburgh, despite going to two meetings this week. It just didn't gel, and I didn't want to do any of the things I was supposed to do to maintain my program. It was a bad attitude times 10. All this culminated in my doing an actual binge yesterday. Still not the "feel sick, can't button your pants" variety binge, but a deliberate "I'm going to the grocery store and I'm going to buy my binge foods" binge. Which I did. And I ate most of them. And it calmed my nerves a bit. And then I woke up this morning with an even worse attitude. The kind of attitude I have when I'm in the food. an I don't care, screw it, life sucks, I'm just going to roll over and go back to sleep attitude. But I couldn't sleep. So I went to a meeting. And then I called my sponsor, which I didn't do yesterday.

My sponsor told me to read a passage in the Big Book called "Acceptance Was the Answer." She told me to see what I got out of it, think about the things in my life that were unacceptable or that I was not accepting, and to write on them. Which I am doing. But very much with an "I hate this, this sucks, I want to stop" attitude. Ugh.

My first thoughts were, "why is she making me read this? It doesn't apply to me." It was all about he couldn't admit he was an alcoholic. I thought, "is she saying I'm not admitting this?" I think I have admitted I'm a compulsive eater. But about 3/4 of the way through the story I started realizing that this man's story does apply. And I started underlining. The first part I underlined said that at first during abstinence he had a reason (legit, he thought) for why he should take a pill each time he was tempted. I do that. I think that my pain or emotions are bad enough that I need the food.

Then he said he got to a point where he coudl say he was an alcoholic and it was "all right" with him. I haven't done the "its all right part." I always wondered in meetings when people said they were grateful compulsive eaters, not gratful recovering compulsive eaters. I got how you could be grateful to recover, but grateful just to be a compulsive eater? That didn't register. Though you do hear peple say they woudn't have learned the life skills they have without being in OA, so I guess I can see it. Then the story says that he began living in the solution to his problem, rather than living in th problem itself. I think I've been living in the problem. I can't get out of the negativity. I need to live in the solution.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 23

Yesterday I went to my first meeting in 6 days, and I'm glad I went. We had a relatively small meeting, which meant that pretty much everyone was guilted into speaking. I spoke and was glad i did, even though I didn't say anything too exciting. But it was interesting. After 23 days of abstinence, I'm starting to feel like its my job to comfort and offer support to those who are struggling or new. One old-timer sounded like she was struggling, and I found myself, after the meeting, going up to her and asking how she was doing and trying to find words of support instead of talking about myself. That's something I've been very self-conscious about. I've felt since July that all I do is TAKE, talking about myself, and not offer advice. But I think it's taken that long to really buckle down, so I've been struggling myself since then. Its way too early to say that I feel like I've got it figured out and that I can offer any advice to folks. But at least I can share positive stuff right now instead of negative or uncertain stuff, and that's a step in the right direction.

I'm between steps right now. I've finished reading about and writing on step one. I need to re-read what I've written on step one to make sure its really internalized, but I also need to meet with and discuss what I've written with my sponsor before moving onto step 2. I'll be curious to hear what she has to say. So instead of moving on, I'm reading some other OA literature, including the Big Book and Overeaters Anonymous. I read three stories in Overeaters Anonymous. And they all spoke to me generally in some way - they always do overall, in the way that I understand the pain and frustration adn hopelessness you feel when you can't stop binging. But none of them really grabbed me.

Though in the last story I read, there was a line right at the beginning where the author said "So great had been my isolation before coming to OA that no once had I ever told anyone about my bingeing, not even the psychiatrist who treated me for severe depression." I can relate to that. I've told people I'm a compulsive overeater, but its only recently that I've been able to admit out loud that I'm a binge eater. Somehow it seems worse - grosser, less appealing, more mentally wrong. I even asked one day why people in OA don't identify themselves as binge eaters and instead just call themselves compulsive overeaters. I was told that binge eating falls into the category of compulsive eating. But for me, I almost need it to be more specific, to admit exactly what I've been doing out loud to the group. The one group that won't judge. Maybe at my next meeting I'll identify myself that way. But one other big step I've taken recently was admitting to my therapist exactly what I consume during a binge. I kept a food log, showing rigorous honesty, even during a binge. It was sort of embarrassing, but I also think I'm numb now and willing to go to "whatever lengths," even if it means admitting my worst to a (relative) stranger.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 17

I binged last night. Not an all-out can't button your pants or breath binge, but it was unhealthy food, it was deliberate, and it was because I wanted it, not because I was hungry. I'd been craving chocolate and peanut butter for a while (a week) and had in my head that I wanted Coldstone Creamery's chocolate Reese's mashup. I've been resisting using the tools, but then I got it in my head that I could use a substitute. A substitute being fat-free, sugar-free fudge pudding with fat-free Cool Whip mixed with peanut butter. Better for me, probably, (in terms of calories and fat and sugar), but not in terms of health. Health-wise, it was very bad for me. I got all the stuff at the grocery store after lunch and also got a bottle of wine. I consumed all of it. I didn't feel too bad physically, but mentally I wasn't too happy.

I'm not restarting my abstinence date, because it's a slip, not the end of the world. When I got up this morning, I really wanted healthy food and didn't like that I'd had that junk. And I've continued to eat healthy all day and I'm about to go to the gym. Have I learned anything from this? I'd love to say yes, though I'm not sure that's true. I think what might be different this time is me acknowledging that I really do have this disease and that having that one (or 500) compulsive bite really is a problem, as it's much harder in general after that. I've also acknowledged that I have to keep doing what I'm supposed to do according to this program. The program knows better t han I do. So I went to a meeting today, and I'm doing my reading and writing and food logging.

Step 1 says "As long as we refuse to acknowledge that we have this debilitating and ultimately fatal disease, we are not motivated to get the daily treatment for it that brings about our recovery." I think that is what is different this time, that made me do wht I was supposed to do today. I KNOW I have the disease of compulsive overeating, and so I knew that today, like every other day, needed me to engage in my daily treatment, despite the setback last night. And that, I hope, is my lesson.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 16

"We ate to sate the fears, the angers, the disappointments. We ate to escape the pressures of our problems or the boredom of everyday life. We procrastinated,we hid, and we ate."

Oh my god. This is the passage that really hits me in reading Step 1. It describes me exactly. I ate over everything. Every emotion, even some good ones. That summer in D.C. I ate to block out my loneliness and depression over feeling fat and feeling like I didn't fit in. That first year out of college I ate my way through my terror that I had no idea what to do with my life and the fact that my life post-college felt like this huge, empty void. What did people DO on weekends without friends around and studying to do? Life seemed like a vast emptiness with no end in sight. And my job was miserable, I hated it so. And so I ate. It wasn't conscious at all. It was just how I subconsciously knew how to make myself feel better.

Later on I ate to ease my depression and boredom and loneliness. Which of course only exacerbated all of those things. I had no friends, and spending Friday and Saturday nights binging and watching TV gave me an activity, and allowed me to blot out the fact that I had no real social life. I didn't have to think about it when I was high on food and drunk on alcohol. After a while I realized that it was wrong. I knew that I was not behaving in a way that was healthy, normal. In fact, I used to make trips up and down the stairs of my apartment building to the vending machine thinking all the time "here I go, feeding my eating disorder." Literally. Somehow I thought that taking the stairs instead of the elevator would be better for me. It meant I was getting some exercise in (I lived on the 7th floor) and maybe in some way that would make up for all the crap I was shoving in my body. It didn't of course. And it certainly made me worse mentally.

I did, at one point during these years, go to OA. But my thinking was that Step 1 was a bad idea. "If we tell ourselves we are powerless over food, then we program ourselves to go right on eating compulsively!" It's too negative, I thought. I think I lasted a month.

Later on, once I had become much more aware of what I was doing to myself, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, it became even harder. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I made lots of efforts to stop. But in those periods when I did manage to stop, "life without food seemed unbearable." Both because it meant I had to deal with situations/problems/emotions without numbing myself out and because it meant that one big activity in my life - the one thing that kept me company when I was alone - was the one thing I wasn't allowed to use. And I couldn't do it. It seemed impossible. And so I gave in. Every time I gave in, for one reason or another. I remember one time relatively recently when I didn't have plans on a Saturday night. I knew I shouldn't be eating - I'd been going to OA meetings but not really working the program - but I didn't know what else to do with myself. Lying on the couch without food to numb my loneliness out seemed like an unpleasant prospect. So what else could I do?

I have to deliberately, every minute of every day, make a conscious decision to choose to live my life differently. And that's what I'm trying to do.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 15

The second part of step 1 says that we admitted that our lives had become unmanageable. For me this is the key to admitting powerlessness. I've been trying to control my food for 15 years, but my life still has become totally unmanageable, despite my best efforts to control it (and the food). That, to me, is the essence of powerlessness. I've been trying for so long and failing for so long. I still have a large part of me that thinks that if I just try a little harder or get slightly better circumstances, or somehow get more willpower or get slightly less depressed, I'll finally be able to lick this thing. But that never happens. Ever.

I always attributed the fact that the happy thngs that happened in my life didn't make me happy because I was depressed. And I was depressed in large part because of my weight. But that's an oversimplification, in reality. Yes, I was depressed by my weight, and my weight made it so I was less comfortable doing the things I love (like hiking etc) and didn't get that normal "high" you get from happy activities. My self-consciousness also kept me isolated and away from many of the normal life activities that would make me happy, keeping me in a depressed, isolated state. And eating.

Were our homes pleasant places to be, or had we been living in an atmosphere or depression and anger? My home definitely wasn't a pleasant place to be. It was often overrun with dirty dishes, piles of dirty clothes, crumbs, dust etc. I never cleaned it unless I had to, was always to embarrassed to ahve anyone over. You're supposed to make your home a sanctuary. Mine was like a dark, denlike hell.

Had our chronic overeating affected our marriages and our friendships? Yes! I essentially disappeared on my college (and high school) friends out of wanting to isolate and eat and out of embarrassment for being fat and not succeeding the way they were. I remember the times when I would go visit my best friend, I would think to myself "ok, time to go pretend I'm a normal, happy functioning person in the real world for a little while, even though in my actual life I'm nothing like that." It was like putting on a facade for a little while and acting cheerful and normal, when I felt like a total fraud, unhappy, embarrassed, fat, like I didn't belong in the real world anymore. It was absolutely exhausting one time on one of these visits my life was so out of control - I had let my finances get out of control, my eating was a disaster etc. I got to the airport and something had gone wrong financially. I'm not sure what. Maybe a check had bounced. Whatever it was, I was in total despair, knowing that it was only my irresponsibility that had done this. I turned around and went back home and told my friend I "accidentally" missed my plane. I hadn't. I just couldn't face the truth that night. I'm sure I went home and binged. I don't know. I do know I went the next morning and felt a bit better.

As for other friends, I spent the first 5-7 years in my new town without making any friends. Maybe one or two. But I was totally consumed by my disease and felt I had no way to make friends. And marriage? Well, I'm not married. And the main reason for that is that I have been too consumed by my disease to even try or have a successful relationship. All my friends are having babies and married, and I'm trying to get over an eating disorder. It's incredibly demoralizing, but I have to accept that this is the path my life has taken, and change only what I can from here on out. I can't change the past.

About Me

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Virginia, United States
I'm a 30-year-old girl just trying to figure it all out when it comes to life, love, and food.